Water and Sewerage Anti-Privatization movement in Thessaloniki, Greece

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Water and sewerage is under public management in Greece. In 2011 the government included Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage SA (EYATH) in the list of state owned enterprises that would be privatized under the pretext of financial crisis and austerity measures (imposed by the Troika’s demands).</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">EYATH SA was set up in 1998 and in 2001 went public in the Athens Stock Market [2]. At that time, the government broke up the enterprise into two parts: EYATH SA is responsible for management and services’ provision, while EYATH Fixed Assets is a Public Law Body, responsible for the management, maintenance and operation of the company’s fixed assets; the management of the state's rights to water provision and support to investment plans [3]. The main EYATH shareholder was the Greek state, holding 74.02%. Since March 2012, the Greek state’s shares were gradually transferred to the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) in order to sell them. <br/><br/>As the enterprise went public in 2001, several grassroots and trade unionists considered that this was the first step towards the privatization of the company, although the state held 74.02% of the shares. In 2011, upon the announcement of the government intention to fully privatize, a civil society movement was initiated. One of the first active groups was “Initiative 136”. As the privatization issue was publicized and awareness grew, a coordination group of citizens and stakeholders, S.O.S.te to Nero (Save Water), was created in April 2013. Following intensive campaigning and awareness raising of the public and the local authorities, different actors and groups, political parties, grassroots, academics, as well as municipal authorities and trade unions worked together in the struggle against privatization. <br/><br/>“Initiative 136” worked on the idea of building up a cooperative company owned by its users, with the goal to have a more democratic and cooperative management. The initiative took its name from the amount of money (136€) that each hydrometer costs. The idea was that each resident who has a hydrometer in his/her house can participate in a Cooperative in his/her area (district or municipality). All the Cooperatives together form the “Citizens’ Union for Water”, the Union of Non-Profit Water Cooperatives of the Municipalities of Thessaloniki area. The Union submitted an Expression of Interest for the acquisition of 51% of EYATH [4]. Although, in June 2013, TAIPED announced that the Union is excluded from the second phase of the process as it didn’t fulfill the conditions, but denied to publicize the reasons. The Union appealed to justice and was vindicated. [5]<br/><br/>In May 2014 the Council of State gave a ruling accepting Athens residents’ demand for not privatizing EYDAP (Athens metropolitan area water and Sewerage company). At the same time it rejected EYATH’s trade union demand for cancelling the privatization, as it judged that the union didn’t have interest to intervene [6]. <br/><br/>In March 2014, the Regional Association of Municipalities of Central Macedonia accepted the proposal made by S.O.S.te to Nero to hold a referendum in Thessaloniki along with the Municipal Elections of the 18th of May. A major public information campaign was launched in order to sensitize voters, as well as to get financial donations and to mobilize volunteers [7]. Two days before the elections, the Greek Government forbade the referendum. A major effort was made by the civil society movements, along with volunteers from Greece and abroad in order to carry out the referendum. Tens of activists set up tables and ballot boxes outside the electoral departments. They got the electoral lists from the Regional Association of Municipalities of Central Macedonia and they worked hard in order to count the votes and announce the results [8]. 98% of the citizens who participated in the referendum (218,002 voters in total) voted No to the privatization [9].<br/><br/>Furthermore, the municipalities of Thessaloniki metropolitan area that get water from EYATH, decided to take back the networks, pumping stations and reservoirs that had been granted to the state owned company in 2001 [10].<br/><br/>At present, the government seems to be changing its plans. In its latest announcements it mentioned alternative scenarios, such as the buyout of EYATH by EYDAP [11], or selling by tender of a minority of shares along with the concession of the management to a private company [16].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Water and Sewerage Anti-Privatization movement in Thessaloniki, Greece</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/greece">Greece</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Central Macedonia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Thessaloniki metropolitan area</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Water Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Water access rights and entitlements<br /> Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/water'>Water</a><br />Wastewater </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Water provision: 250,000 m3 daily average production; 2,200 km distribution network</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Sewerage: 175,000 m3 daily average wastewater treatment; 1,700 km sewage network [1]<br/><br/>EYATH’s shareholders:<br/><br/>Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) 74.02%; Legal Entities 16.52%; Natural Persons 8.32%; Shared tranche 1.14% [12]. <br/><br/>EYATH SA gross profit for the period 2007-2011: 143.000.000 euro [13].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>Water provision: 12,000; sewerage: 63,700 [1]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>101,104,052 (EYATH’s shares’ selling price)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>~950,000 </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>10/08/2011</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/aktor-ate'>AKTOR A.T.E. <small>(AKTOR)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/greece'><small>Greece</small></a> - <small>prospective purchaser</small><br /><a href='/company/thessaloniki-water-supply-sewerage-sa'>Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage SA <small>(EYATH SA)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/greece'><small>Greece</small></a><br /><a href='/company/suez-environment-sas'>SUEZ Environment SAS <small>(SUEZ )</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/france'><small>France</small></a> - <small>Prospective purchaser</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Ministry of Finance; Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund; Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change; Region of Central Macedonia; Municipalities of: Thessaloniki, Ampelokipi-Menemeni, Kalamarias, Neapolis-Sykeon, Kordelio-Evosmos, Pavlos Melas, Thermis, Delta, Halkidonas, Oraiokastro</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/european-central-bank'>European Central Bank <small>(ECB)</small></a><br /><a href='/institution/fondo-monetario-internacional'>International Monetary Fund <small>(FMI)</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Over 130 civil society organisations, trade unions and individuals from Greece and Europe with 50 Members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the bidders of EYATH, demanding them to withdraw their bid (the full list: http://www.savegreekwater.org/?p=2651) Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’ Acqua (http://www.acquabenecomune.org/) European Federation of Public Service Unions – EPSU (http://www.epsu.org/) German Association of public water operators, www.aoew.de European Water Forum (http://europeanwater.org/) Berliner Wasserrat, http://www.berliner-wasserrat.com/ European Water Movement (http://europeanwater.org)</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements<br /> Trade unions<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Referendum other local consultations<br /> Blockades<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Shareholder/financial activism.<br /> Street protest/marches<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Strikes<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Other Health impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Health impacts related to the quality of water, as the international experience has shown that private water companies neglect quality issues in their effort to maximize their profits</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Potential Increase of water prices</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Unknown</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (failure for environmental justice)<br /> Negotiated alternative solution<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Project temporarily suspended</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>A Union of Non-Profit Water Cooperatives of the Municipalities of the Thessaloniki area, under the name “Citizens’ Union for Water”, was created. The Union comprises 16 primary municipal cooperatives corresponding to the municipal communities of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and to other Municipalities in the wider metropolitan area of Thessaloniki, as well as one solidarity cooperative for people that do not live in the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki [14]. Citizens can apply for being members of a cooperative. The members of the cooperatives can get microloans or funding from Social Responsibility Investors, in order to ensure that all citizens are able to participate in a cooperative, regardless of their financial situation. The main philosophy of the Union is to have a democratic, nonprofit water management, ensuring citizens active participation and a good quality of water at a low price [15].<br/><br/>There were some objections to this process, as the state used to have the majority of the shares; the main argument was that the citizens will buy something that already belongs to them and that this was a form of privatization.<br/><br/>Τhe Union submitted an Expression of Interest for the acquisition of 51% of EYATH [4]. In June 2013, TAIPED excluded the Union from the second phase of the process, without publicizing the reasons. [5]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Not Sure</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The privatization process for both water companies (Thessaloniki Water Supply & Sewerage SA (EYATH SA) and Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP S.A.)) has been suspended. The Greek government has the obligation to proceed to the privatization of several public companies. This obligation derived from the agreements between the Greek governments and Troika (EU, IMF and ECB). <br/><br/>The privatization process of water companies of the two bigger metropolitan areas of Greece faces great public opposition. Especially in Thessaloniki, a mass movement was established, gaining support from all over Europe and networking in European and international level. At the same time, municipalities in both areas expressed their opposition to the planned privatization. <br/><br/>The public opposition, expressed in the result of the referendum organized in Thessaloniki, along with the Council of State decision that blocked EYDAP’s privatization process, forced the Greek government to suspend the privatization process. Most recently the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks said that the new plan is the buyout of EYATH by EYDAP.<br/><br/>But still nothing is clear. It’s sure that there is a first victory, but the government hasn’t announced yet the definite stopping of the water companies’ privatization process. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Law 2937/2001, Regulations on EYATH SA<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.mou.gr/elibrary/%CE%9D2937_2001_fek169.pdf " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] EYATH SA, 2012, Analysts’ Presentation<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.eyath.gr/misc/Parousiasi_oik_apotel_2011_05-06-2012.pdf " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [2] Law 2937/2001, Regulations on EYATH SA<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.mou.gr/elibrary/%CE%9D2937_2001_fek169.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] EYATH Fixed Assets, 2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.eyathpagion.gr/index.php/company/responsibilities " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Initiative 136, 2013, Press Release: The citizens' bid to control Thessaloniki's water!<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.136.gr/article/citizens-bid-control-thessalonikis-water" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Initiative 136, 2014, Press Release: The Court condemns TAIPED’s decision<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.136.gr/node/435 " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [6] Aftodioikisi, 2014, Council of State: EYDAP’s privatization is unconstitutional<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.aftodioikisi.gr/epixeiriseis/ste-antisintagmatiki-i-idiotikopoiisi-tis-evdap " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [8] Ta Nea, 2014, Outside the electoral departments will be conduced the referendum for the water in Thessaloniki/<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.tanea.gr/news/greece/article/5121460/paranomo-to-dhmopshfisma-gia-to-nero-sth-thessalonikh-antidraseis-apo-th-dhmar" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [9] SAVE GREEK WATER, 2014, Massive participation in Thessaloniki water referendum<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.savegreekwater.org/?p=4118" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [10] Apostolakis Sakis, 2014, Municipalities of Thessaloniki get back the networks from EYATH, Newspaper Eleftherotypia, 4 June 2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" http://www.enet.gr/?i=issue.el.home&date=04%2F06%2F2014&id=433885" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [11] Archontopoulos G., 2014, They will find us constantly before them!, Oikotrives Magazine, 13 – October 2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://oikotrives.gr/periodiko/ellada/nero-archontopoulos/ " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [12] EYATH, Shareholder composition, 2012<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.eyath.gr/misc/METOXIKI_SINTHESI_30-6-2012.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [13] S.O.S.te to nero, 2013, Press Release<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sostetonero.blogspot.gr/2013/04/blog-post_24.html " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [14] Initiative 136, 2013, The list of primary municipal cooperatives<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.136.gr/synetairismoi " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [15] Initiative 136, 2013, Press Release: The citizens' bid to control Thessaloniki's water! "Citizens' Union for Water"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.136.gr/article/citizens-bid-control-thessalonikis-water " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [7] S.O.S.te to nero, 2013, Press Realease on the Regional Association of Municipalities of Central Macedonia decision for the referendum on the privatization of water in Thessaloniki<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://sostetonero.blogspot.gr/2014/03/blog-post_15.html " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [16] K.M., 2014, TAIPED insists in the "exploitation" of EYATH, 25/10/2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.alterthess.gr/content/epimenei-taiped-stin-axiopoiisi-tis-eyath" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Nick Meynen, 2014, This is what 98% of Thessaloniki wants<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.ejolt.org/2014/05/this-is-what-98-of-thessaloniki-wants/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Olivier Petitjean, 2014, Forced Privatizations in Greece: Suez Eyes Taking Over the Water Services of Athens and Thessaloniki<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://multinationales.org/Forced-Privatizations-in-Greece " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Hilary Wainwright, 2013, Resist and transform: the struggle for water in Greece<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.redpepper.org.uk/tapping-the-resistance-in-greece/ " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Lavinia Steinfort, 2014, Thessaloniki, Greece: Struggling against water privatization in times of crisis<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.tni.org/article/thessaloniki-greece-struggling-against-water-privatisation-times-crisis " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Mary Ann Manahan, 2012, Addressing the Modern Greek Tragedy<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.tni.org/article/buying-back-public-136-euros-time " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Practicing democracy, 2014<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZB7MR1PGKU&feature=youtu.be " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Savegreekwater, 2014, Something’s up with water, Water polo<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Rcdh7xpD1w" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Nelly Psarrou, 2014, Water drops, A documentary on water adventures in Greece (Thessaloniki, Apopigadi, Eastern Chalkidiki, Asopos river and Volos),<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cthF1XWEgM " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Savegreekwater, 2014, Something’s up with water, Shower<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuiyXGv18NE" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Savegreekwater, 2014, Something’s up with water, Coin machine<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnGwTBEvfno#t=38" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Savegreekwater, 2014, Something’s up with water, Watering<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOyCtTiToyc" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Savegreekwater, 2014, Something’s up with water, Beach bar<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXERna_WwKo" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Manifestation in Thessaloniki (29 April 2013)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/manif_thesniki_29_april_13.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Manifestation in the Municipality of Neapoli-Sykies (12 April 2014)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/mun_neapoli_sykies_manif_12_april_14.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Naked biketour in Thessaloniki (10 June 2013)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/naked_biketour_thesniki_10jun13.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Referendum in Thessaloniki, same day with Municipal Elections (18 May 2014)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/referendum_18may14_b.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Referendum in Thessaloniki, same day with Municipal Elections (18 May 2014)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/referendum_18may14_c.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Referendum in Thessaloniki, same day with Municipal Elections (18 May 2014)</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/referendum_18may14.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Referendum Poster </strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/referendum_poster.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Ermioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>09/07/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>